Submissions on the review of the freedom of information
reforms are due by 7 December, and the report will be complete by
30 April 2013.
The Commonwealth Attorney-General has appointed former senior
public servant and diplomat, Dr Allan Hawke, to conduct an
independent review of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act)
and the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010.
As required by section 93B of the Freedom of Information Act
1982 and section 33 of the Australian Information Commissioner Act
2010, the review will consider the operation of the two Acts since
the commencement of the freedom of information reforms in November
The FOI review's terms of reference
The terms of reference for the review require Dr Hawke to
the impact of the recent reforms to freedom of information
laws, including the new structures and processes for review of
decisions and investigation of complaints;
the effectiveness of the Office of the Australian Information
the effectiveness of the two tier system of merits review;
the reformulation of the exemptions in the FOI Act including
the application of the new public interest test taking into
the requirement to ensure legitimate protection of sensitive
government documents including Cabinet documents;
the necessity for the government to continue to obtain frank
and fearless advice from agencies and from third parties who deal
the range of agencies covered;
the role of fees and charges on FOI, taking into account the
recommendations of the Information Commissioner's views of the
current charging regime; and
the desirability of minimising the regulatory and
administrative burden, including costs, on government
Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide
commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon
as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular
transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin.
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